Saudi Arabia to hold prayers in Makkah and Madina ‘without worshippers’ during Ramadan

Makkah and Madina will hold the nightly Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan but only in the presence of clerics and staff who work on maintenance, the kingdom announced yesterday.

“The Saudi authorities have decided to hold Taraweeh and Tahajjud prayers in the Two Holy Mosques, while continuing to suspend the attendance of worshippers,” Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais wrote on Twitter. He added that authorities had also suspended “Itikaf” – during which Muslims spend the last 10 days of Ramadan in mosques.

Okaz quoted Al-Sudais as saying that the Tarawih prayers will only be attended by “the mosques’ general presidency’s officials, as well as sterilisation workers.”

The Saudi Grand Mufti, Abdulaziz Al-Sheikh, said on Friday that citizens should perform Tarawih and Eid prayers – at the end of the Muslim month of fasting – “at homes this year” due to the coronavirus.

On 18 March, the kingdom’s Council of Senior Scholars suspended prayers in mosques across the country, as part of a series of measures taken to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to official data, the disease – which first appeared in China’s Wuhan province in December – has so far killed over 103 and infected more than 10,484 people across Saudi Arabia.

Globally, over 2,554,968 people have contracted the virus, including more than 177,413 who have died as a result, according to the US’ Worldometers. WHO has declared the crisis a pandemic.